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Senator John McKinney Announces Run For Governor's Seat

HARTFORD (AP) — John McKinney, Newtown's state senator and the Republican Senate Minority Leader, announced he is running for governor in 2014, saying he hopes to restore fiscal prosperity to Connecticut.

The eight-term Fairfield lawmaker announced his candidacy in a news release emailed to reporters. The statement said Sen McKinney has filed the necessary paperwork to start a candidate committee and begin collecting contributions to qualify for the state’s public campaign financing program.

‘‘Over the coming weeks, we'll work to build support and a statewide organization to help put Connecticut back on the right track,’’ Sen McKinney said.

McKinney criticized Democratic Governor Dannel P Malloy’s approach to rebuilding the state’s economy, saying the first-term governor ‘‘by almost every measure’’ has taken Connecticut’s economy in the wrong direction.

‘‘After three years of picking winners and losers and giving away hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to big corporations already based in Connecticut, the results of Gov Malloy’s economic policies speak for themselves: Connecticut is losing,’’ he said.

Malloy has not yet announced whether he will seek a second term. He has argued, however, that his policies have moved Connecticut in the right direction economically and saying ‘‘we’re in substantially better shape than where we were when we began.’’

Greenwich businessman Tom Foley, the party’s 2010 gubernatorial candidate, has said he will likely run for governor. And Joseph Visconti of West Hartford, Gordon Ward of Manchester and Scott Merrell of Norwalk have already filed as Republican candidates for governor with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

Other possible contenders include Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti. Last month, House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, announced he would not run.

The 49-year-old Sen McKinney is the son of the late 4th District Rep. Stewart B McKinney. A graduate of Yale University and University of Connecticut School of Law, Sen McKinney practiced law at the Connecticut-based firm Cummings & Lockwood LLC before his election to the General Assembly.

He also was a law clerk to the Connecticut Supreme Court. The father of three children has been the Senate Minority leader since 2007.

Sen McKinney’s legislative district also includes Easton, Fairfield, Weston, and Westport. He played a key role in crafting a bipartisan package of gun control legislation this year in response to the 12/14 shooting.

His support of gun control measures brought him criticism from gun rights advocates. Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, said Sen McKinney would not get his group’s support because the Republican was ‘‘instrumental in implementing a historic gun control law with zero consideration for the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners.’’

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